Debating the Education Utopia : Ideational change in the Swedish debate about privatization of education between 2003 and 2011

University essay from Högskolan Väst/Institutionen för ekonomi och it; Högskolan Väst/Institutionen för ekonomi och it


There is strong support among scholars that ideas are important in shaping public policy. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the ideas present in the Swedish debate about privatization of education between 2003 and 2011 during different governments, and if Sweden has undergone an ideational shift where ideas of privatization are becoming more accepted not just among politicians but also among a wider base of actors. Framing theory and the concept of counter framing are used to categorize these ideas. A mixed methods approach is used where frames are first defined based on previous research about privatization of education, then identified in newspaper articles from three major Swedish newspapers, then quantified according to whether they are used by proponents or opponents of privatization and finally analyzed to investigate their content. We found that there had indeed been a change in which frames were used as well as how they were used between the years analyzed. This indicates that there has been an ideational shift towards market oriented ideas in Sweden which could be attributed to the change in government as counter framing was more common for proponents of privatization during a social democratic government and more common for opponents during a center-right government, however further research is needed to determine the validity of this correlation.

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